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Minimize Your Pet’s Pain with Alternative Therapy Options

Dog in a hydrotherapy tank.

There are many alternative therapy options for pets. Pets can’t tell us directly when they are in pain, so many people assume that pets don’t have chronic pain. But this is simply not the case. Dogs and other pets have retained the instinct of hiding weaknesses from their days as wild animals. As such, they can hide their pain from humans. Muscle and joint injuries, arthritis, and other degenerative conditions are just as painful and uncomfortable for pets as they are for humans.

While conventional pain relief medications can alleviate pain, alternative therapy options for pets have also been effective. Below are alternative therapy options you should consider to help minimize your pet’s pain.

1. Massage Therapy

Canines love and crave physical touch. Massage gives them the much-needed physical touch, which has a calming, comforting effect. The skin is the largest sensory organ in the body, with millions of nerve endings and sensory receptors. These register and send touch, pain, and temperature senses to the brain.

Massage therapy for canines relaxes their muscles and stimulates endorphins that increase blood circulation and oxygen levels. This helps eliminate toxins, strengthen the immune system, minimize inflammation, and promote healing. All these can contribute to pain relief, especially in the muscles and joints.

2. Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy is overly beneficial and a perfect alternative to strenuous exercises for canines with chronic pain and crippling injuries caused by cruciate ligament trauma and arthritis. During hydrotherapy, pets are guided in and out of the water to minimize stress and possible injuries.

Water in the pool is heated to alleviate muscle pain and discomfort. Hydrotherapy treatments for canines mostly use underwater treadmill therapy and underwater resistance jets. This therapy option also helps to manage your pet’s weight and ensure they get enough exercise.

3. Laser Therapy

Laser therapy is a perfect pain relief option for pets with chronic conditions, such as heart and liver diseases. These diseases often limit the use of conventional drugs and treatment options. The FDA approves pet laser therapy for the treatment of back pain, post-surgical trauma, arthritis, open wounds, tissue injuries, and degenerative discs.

Also known as photo biomodulation, laser therapy targets and stimulates specific body cells using light. This increases circulation, which increases oxygen, nutrient, and water supply to cells of the damaged area, reducing inflammation and the resulting pain. Laser therapy also reduces nerve sensitivity, effectively blocking the transfer of pain signals to brain processing centers.

4. Stem Cell Treatment

Veterinarians are embracing stem cell treatment for pain relief in pets. This therapy treatment involves extracting stem cells from fat tissue or animal plasma and injecting it into the affected area. Stem cells can regenerate and form new tissue cells and organs, enabling the body to regenerate, repair, and replace damaged tissue.

Stem cell therapy is mostly used in alleviating pet pain caused by arthritis. Moreover, stem cells also differentiate into blood vessels, fat, liver, nerve, tendon tissue, cartilage, and bone.

5. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is another effective alternative method of relieving pet pain, especially arthritis. It can also treat other conditions, including neurological problems, skin disorders, heart conditions, and thyroid imbalances. Combined with conventional medications, pet acupuncture reduces the cumulative effects of chronic illnesses and injuries.

Like other conventional options, acupuncture prompts natural body healing. It increases blood circulation, activates the nervous system, and stimulates the release of anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving substances. During this therapy, the veterinarian inserts acupuncture needles into acupuncture points or the meridians of the body.


Chronic pain has serious physical and psychological impacts on pets. If your pet has been diagnosed with chronic pain, your veterinarian might recommend a multimodal treatment approach. This will combine both conventional and alternative therapies. However, not all therapies work equally, and your vet should find the right combination for your pet.

Schedule an appointment with Naples Coastal Animal Hospital for prompt pain intervention, or contact them to discuss your pet’s needs.